Ajax in Iraq

Date: October 15, 2017

Not Man Apart Physical Theatre Ensemble with new Co-Artistic Directors Jones Welsh, Aaron Hendry and Laura Covelli, in association with the Greenway Arts Alliance and Producer Jason Bruffy, present the revival of their thrilling production of Ajax in Iraq, Ellen McLaughlin's edgy action drama set in U.S. occupied Iraq, as the first Resident Company production at the Greenway Court Theatre, opening on July 15 for a five-week run.

John Farmanesh-Bocca, Not Man Apart’s Founder and Emeritus Director who recently directed and choreographed the critically acclaimed Tempest Redux, returns to NMA with a remount of Ajax in Iraq in the role of Director and Choreographer and Aaron Hendry, who wrote and directed NMA’s last production, The SuperHero and his Charming Wife, stars as Ajax.

Not Man Apart’s 2014 production of Ajax in Iraq garnered rave reviews from the LA Weekly, the Hollywood Reporter and the Los Angeles Times, which the Times review boldly claimed as a Critics Pick, "A dead on triumph. It would be madness to miss it." In cooperation with playwright Ellen McLaughlin, NMA brings a galvanized new edit of this great play to the stage, tailored for the company's high energy style of athletic theatre and the growing military threats that exist today.

In the two years since the original production, the chasm of disconnect between civilian Americans and military personnel has only grown wider. After 15 years of continued conflict in the Middle East, and on the brink of new combat commitment in Syria, Libya, and around the world, Americans are more disassociated than ever from the realities of the active military community.

Raw, dynamic, heartfelt, and volatile, Ajax in Iraq parallels the lives of ancient and modern heroes. This stunning physical drama grapples with issues that have become all too well known to the American public – sexual abuse against women in the military, war of occupation, post-traumatic stress disorder, and the price of committing combat troops to situations that may have no end. Ellen McLaughlin’s electrifying play intertwines the story of A.J., a female U.S. Army combatant, with the legend of Ajax, a Greek Hero of the Trojan War whose story is said to be the first documented case of PTSD. The result is shocking, captivating, strangely humorous, and relentlessly honest.

“After 15 years of deployments to war zones, the Pentagon is bracing for things to get much worse," says Farmanesh-Bocca. "We must continue to shed light on the subject. This play’s unique time traveling connection perfectly demonstrates how modern warfare has changed so much since ancient times, and yet not at all.” Producer and lead actor Hendry weighs in, "Our Veterans cannot be ignored nor can this conversation. Ajax in Iraq is an exciting and entertaining action piece, focusing on life and death issues that have been hotly debated but never resolved."

NMA delivers both gripping text and athletic movement, a scripted play in the form of a thrilling dance. The Hollywood Reporter praises NMA as a “futuristic theater company.” The Los Angeles Times calls the company “exhilarating and propulsive… exciting and innovative,” and the British Theatre Guide says “startlingly refreshing.”

Greenway Court Theatre seeks to support artists that are experimenting with bold ideas and pushing forward the form of theatre itself. "By partnering with NMA, we bolster growth of innovation in the arts and introduce the Greenway community and West Hollywood neighborhood to exciting new work," explains Greenway’s Producing Director Bruffy.

Not Man Apart Physical Theatre Ensemble generates innovative physical works of theater and transformational experiences. Founded in 2004 in northern California, the award-winning company has toured to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, receiving the coveted Fringe First Award. In 2009, NMA premiered Pericles Redux at the Kirk Douglas Theater followed by Titus Redux in 2010, reprising Titus Redux as part of RADAR L.A., and establishing Los Angeles as the NMA home city. In 2011, NMA was commissioned by the Getty Villa to adapt Hercules Furens in a workshop performance. NMA then performed Eduardo Machado’s Lysistrata Unbound starring Olympia Dukakis at the Villa in 2013. They have recently completed a sold out run of The SuperHero and his Charming Wife, an original work written and directed by Hendry and performed at Highways Performance Space. With a mission to create highly athletic and innovative theatrical events, and establish a new kind of physical theater genre that is exciting, relevant, accessible and all inclusive, NMA strives to be one of the premier physical theater ensembles in the United States.

Greenway GO was designed to provide access to and engagement in the arts to the Los Angeles community. By building on current initiatives, we envision the program as a vital entry point for students and the community to experience a variety of art events for free or for a very low cost. Greenway GO is part of a larger, evolving effort to engage in creative place making, accessibility, and true community building through the arts. As Greenway continues to grow and explore a new model for how arts, education and social enterprise can work together to help organizations remain both relevant and economically viable, it is simultaneously important that we find ways to include access points for community members who may be shut out by traditional pricing, location and lack of connection to the art itself.

Aaron Hendry (NMA’s Lysistrata Unbound opposite Olympia Dukakis; director of The SuperHero and his Charming Wife; company member, Theatricum Botanicum; former member of Diavolo Dance Theatre) reprises his role as Ajax. Joanna Bateman (NMA’s The SuperHero and his Charming Wife; Theatricum Botanicum; nominated for best actress in Odessa at the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2014) plays Athena; and Courtney Munch (previous NMA productions of The SuperHero and his Charming Wife, Titus Redux, Hercules Furens and Lysistrata Unbound) reprises her role as A.J., the modern-day female American soldier whose journey parallels that of the ancient hero. Also in the cast, each playing multiple roles as the story flashes back and forth between the Iraq and Trojan Wars, are James Bane, Jason Barlaan, Alina Bolshakova, Jessica Carlsen, Laura Covelli, Zachary Reeve Davidson, Kendall Johnson, Jolene Kim, Ronin Lee, Sydney Mason, Frederick D. Ramsey, Jr., and Olivia Trevino.

Sound design for Ajax in Iraq by Adam Phalen; lighting design by Matt Makulka; Wardrobe design by Catherine Baumgardner; and choreography by John Farmanesh-Bocca and Jones Welsh.

Ajax in Iraq opens on Friday, July 15 with a run through August 14; performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. through August 14. Tickets on Fridays and Saturdays are $30 General Admission; $20 Seniors with ID; and $15 Military and Students with ID. On Sundays, tickets are $20 General Admission and Seniors with ID, $15 Military and Students with ID. The Greenway Court Theatre is located at 544 North Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036. Free parking in the lot adjacent to the theatre. For reservations and information, visit http://www.greenwaycourttheatre.org/ajaxiniraq/ or call (323) 673-0544.

You can also visit the event's website at: www.greenwaycourttheatre.org/ajaxiniraq/

For more information contact: [email protected]

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